There are times that test what people and organizations are made of. We don’t have to tell you that this is one of them.
As Real Change enters 2017, we are doubling down on our commitment to expanding racial equity, allyship, movement building, our independent journalism and our engagement of vendors as the forward-facing voice of Real Change that brings our readers into action.
Donald Trump ascended to the presidency by appealing to xenophobia, racism and authoritarianism. He did not create these aspects of American politics. They’ve been here.
Trump has used nostalgia for a White, patriarchal, religiously homogenous America to deflect people’s attention from policies that siphon wealth from working people to wealthy elites. Trump promised to make America great again, but that greatness existed only for some, and rests upon the denial of opportunity to others.
While no one can predict with certainty what a Trump administration may bring, it would be dangerously naïve to not take his words and actions at face value.
The map on page five of this edition lists incidents of hate that have occurred since Election Day, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. There likely will be more attacks on Muslim and immigrant communities as we descend into a political environment that sanctions and supports racist xenophobia.
There will be attacks on health care, federal housing programs and what’s left of the ever-shrinking social safety net.
There will be an anti-feminist agenda that focuses on diminishing women’s health and reproductive freedom.
There will be renewed racially disproportionate criminalization and mass incarceration of people of color under the guise of “law and order.”
Everything we’ve seen from President-elect Trump says authoritarian dictatorship, from the clown car of corruption that is his chosen Cabinet to the already ominous signs of how his administration will reward loyalty and suppress dissent.
These are the times when we who believe in the promise of democracy must put our differences aside and come together in resistance.
Real Change’s role in this environment is clear. We work even harder at what we do best.
We report the news with integrity, and we focus on the issues that face marginalized communities.
We support movement-building by allying with those most directly affected by racism and radical inequality, and supporting their work however possible.
We build direct and caring relationships at the street level that cut through the insidious and dehumanizing rhetoric of the “undeserving” poor.
And we bring people into action, building hubs of compassion and support that extend from our reader-vendor relationships outward throughout Seattle and beyond.
Over our more than two decades of bringing people together, we have seen how these relationships can transcend the labels that justify oppression and work on a street level to elevate our shared humanity.
And we have seen the power of this community to stand against the everyday classism and racism that too often gets encoded into public policy.
After Trump won the election, Real Change staff came together to decide how we would respond collectively. This statement is just the beginning, and the following actions are our first steps.
Over the coming months, there are numerous immediate opportunities to take action together. Our more than 300 active vendors each month will be armed with leaflets and information about how you can get involved and make our collective voices heard.
We urge our readers to support the following events in the coming weeks.
Monday, Jan. 16: MLK Day March
There has never been a more important time to show that Seattle stands united against the structural racism that supports White supremacy and undermines opportunity for people of color. A Real Change contingent will meet near the Garfield High School flagpole before the march begins at 1 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20–21: Inauguration Day Protests
While there will be inaugural protests over these days, Real Change is focused on turn-out for the movement-building Resist Trump — Occupy Inauguration organized by Socialist Alternative at 5 p.m. at Westlake Park Jan. 20 and the Womxn’s March Seattle at 10 a.m. Jan. 21, downtown.
Thursday, Jan. 26: City Hall Gong Ringing
Each year, Real Change has marked the annual One Night Count of unsheltered homeless people by ringing a gong at Seattle City Hall once for every person counted. This year, the City of Seattle and King County will not release count numbers until May. We believe that this tactic undermines the urgency for more immediate action and invite our community to make a noise with us at City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day before the count.
Thursday, Feb. 2: Housing and Homeless Advocacy Day
Please join Real Change vendors and our allies at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance in bringing our voices to Olympia to support a strategic set of legislative goals for the 2017 state budget. Visit their website for more information.
Each week, Real Change will bring you opportunities for action, and invite our community to focus on those events that build community, call for racial equity and protect vulnerable communities. We hope that you will stand with us.